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Full text of "My Country And My People"

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a Chinese Studio} and Chinku CKikuan (Madame Chuang's Incon-
stancy and Other Tales), the last representing the best collection
of old popular stories that have come down through the ages.

I have grouped these more or less in the order of their
popular influence. A catalogue of common novels in "cir-
culating libraries" on the street would show that novels of
adventure, in Chinese called "novels of chivalry," easily top
the list. A strange phenomenon this, of course, in a society
where chivalric, dare-devil deeds are so often discouraged by
teachers and parents. Yet psychologically it is most easy to
explain. In China chivalric sons, who are likely to involve
their families in trouble with the police or the magistrate, have
been driven out of the home into the gutter, and chivalric
citizens who are too public-spirited and who must meddle in
other people's affairs, when they see injustice done to the poor
or the helpless, have been driven out of society into the "green
forests" (a term for bandits). For if the parents do not "break"
them, they are likely to break their families, owing to the
absence of constitutional protection. A man who insists on
seeing justice done to the poor and oppressed in a society with-
out constitutional protection must indeed be a hero of the
"unbreakable" sort. It is obvious that those who remain in
the home and in respectable society are the type that is not
worth the trouble of "breaking" at all. These "good citizens"
of China therefore admire the sons of the forest very much as
helpless women admire the he-man with a swarthy face, an
unshaven beard and a hairy chest. What is more easy and more
exciting than for a consumptive lying in bed to read All Men
Are Brothers and admire the prowess and exploits of Li Kuei?
And it should be remembered that Chinese novels axe always
read in bed.

The tale of wonder or novel of supernatural beings, involving
fights of giants and fairies, covers a large store of folk tradition
that lies very close to the Chinese heart. In the chapter on the
"Chinese Mind" it has been pointed out how, in the Chinese
mind, the supernatural is always mixed with the real. The
Hsiyuchi, translated in outline by Dr. Timothy Richards in A
Mission to Heaven, describes the exploits and adventures of the
monk Hsiiantsang in his pilgrimage to India, in the company